We're Still Working Our Way Through Growing Pains

I forgot to write that 2 weeks ago I sent E14 and Dad off to a college fair.  As her goal is to head off to a 4-year school pretty much the minute she turns 18, I wanted her to see a sampling of what her choices are.  She, however, discovered The Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising and was lost . . . or found . . . as the case may be.  I thrilled to see the light in her eyes as she flipped through the catalogues and laughed aloud as she said wonderingly, "Is this real?  These are real jobs?"

When she found the section about learning to be a gem and mineral buyer she was rendered incapable of speech.  She stared at the pages and finally spluttered out, "This would be like . . . having fun for pay!"

We spent quite a bit of time exploring fashion-related jobs and looking at educational options.  We discussed dreams and reality and how to make the two come together.  She went to work creating a motivational collage for herself.  Every time I go into her room, there's something else up on her wall related to getting into this school or working in the fashion industry.  She's been reserving and studying every library book on the subject that she can get her hands on.

I'm glad she's dreaming.
I'm glad she's happy.
I'm glad she's setting goals.

However, she's still struggling to see how her studies now will affect those dreams and goals for the future.
And I've been working too hard to make her work.
She's unhappy.
I'm unhappy.
They're her goals, not mine.

I've been struggling to find the fine line between dropping all of my parental responsibility for her and living her life for her. 

I want to encourage her.
I want to love her. 
I want to cheer on her successes. 
I want to be guide her. 
I want to offer support.   

But I don't want to push/pull/prod/drag her kicking and screaming to success. 

Which is what I've (unintentionally) been trying to do for the past several months.

This week she and I had a chat on Friday morning.

Honestly, it wasn't a chat.   I lectured; she listened.  I told her how much I love her.  I told her that I don't care what she does with her future as long as she's happy.  I told her that I think she's marvelous and a miracle just the way she is.  I told her that I'm proud of her and will always be glad she's mine no matter what.  I told her that I was turning her personal success back over to her.  I promised to answer questions, provide resources, help her set goals, teach her life skills, act as teacher and guidance counselor, pray, love, cheer, encourage, correct, teach, and train her.  I reviewed the 4-year plan I created for her based on what she told me she wanted and said, "You can follow this or not.  I'm not going to demand that you follow it.  I'm not going to nag you to get a certain number of pages done each week.  I'm not going to scold/cajole/fuss at you about finishing on time.  If you do this work I will assess it for you.  I will give it back to you to do again if it is not well done.  I will encourage you to work and learn.  But the work is yours.  You have to want your own goals badly enough to do what it takes to achieve them."

Once I wound down she had nothing to say.  She just blinked a few times, picked up her book crate, and went to her room.

She worked her tail off that day.

It will be interesting to see what happens in the coming weeks.


  1. Wow, good for you! Growing pains, for sure! We haven't gotten to that point - I'm still in the "math will get done if I have to use a cattle prod to ensure it!" stage, but I know that just a few short years down the road we'll be at the point where our eldest will have to own his responsibilities. Yikes. Sounds like you are doing a good job on your end. :)



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